Two things can be true at once: someone can be an elitist rich man and also do better for the environment than the snakes in Sacramento could ever hope to be.
(Editor’s note: As you might read last week, the California governor Gavin Newsom, whose beauty brought Chas Smith’s jealousy to its zenith, here, and convinced him to pursue a life as a male model, a dream that would founder despite Chas’ height and a sprawling hair, signed open the exclusive beaches at Hollister Ranch, in Santa Babs County. It was a biggish story and we had two writers on the case, although neither took up the mantle. Here, a new kid on the block, Tyler Tsuji, whom I know very little of except he has a functioning email account and trim hair, takes up the case for keeping the gates closed.)
Hollister Ranch is a sacred place that is seldom brought up in writing and ought to stay that way. But, in order to defend something, you have to be able to talk about it.
As a way of introducing this, I think it would be good to give some of my background info. I am a seventh generation Californian from Somis, California in the lower 805 studying Ag. Engineering at Cal Poly SLO. The heritage of this state is something I hold extremely dear to my heart. My family helped found Los Angeles (before the Owens Valley water was stolen).
I’ve grown up surfing the underground and also media blown-up spots from Point Mugu to Point Conception and have a strong connection to the area since I was born.
I don’t own property at Hollister.
I’ve surfed it before and have friends and acquaintances with access and ownership of parcels, but I’m not “one of those elitists” as the government bureaucrats love to say.
The idea of opening up such sacred land is totally asinine. Hollister Ranch is the only remaining example of what California used to be. This heritage of Old California is what I live and breath. It is what drives my studies as an Ag. Engineering student, my aspirations in agriculture, and my recreation as a surfer.
I’ve grown up with stories of the old days, the citrus orchards that once were the San Fernando Valley, and tales of Joe Quigg flying through the Rincon Rivermouth on a self-made pintail on what is now known as a “call-box” wave.
This is why I am so passionate about this issue. It is because Hollister Ranch is a completely unique synthesis of the Old California cattle trade, old-school style surfing, and Chumash tradition. There is no other place on this planet, let alone state, that carries this heritage, spirit, and ethos in one place.
Hollister Ranch is what California used to be. Dale Velzy used to ride to the South Bay as a kid on horseback to camp and go surfing. Yet ever since Mulholland brought water to Los Angeles we’ve been cast out of Eden. As a child, I was raised in the tension that the specter of development brought to an agricultural community. The threat of development from Conejo Valley suburbia was always present as I grew up and still is there.
I know what the sold-out bureaucrats are really saying when they pitch “access” and “equal opportunity”. Don’t be hypnotized by their promises of social justice and the salvation they promise to grant if you pay your penance on the altar of equity.
I find it absolutely abhorrent these career paper-pushers would dare say (to paraphrase) “Give us your land, look at how we’ve done elsewhere, you’re just a bunch of elitists”.
Let’s look at how the state government has handled state parks. Let’s take a closer look at how they handled Hetch-Hetchy for the benefit of the Bay Area elites. These central planners turned Yosemite into a smog riddled mess that makes Disneyland look like a Zen temple.
Beware those who clamor for power. If anyone can give me a single example of how government oversight, control, or meddling has improved the quality of living and/or environmental status of an area, I dare them to. Even if the government has kept an area the same, I’ll give them credit.
As snobby and xenophobic as some Hollister owners can sometimes be, it is a simple fact that they (and the Nature Conservancy at Cojo-Jalama Ranch) are the strongest example of how private ownership and enterprise do eternally better than these posers in Sacramento and San Francisco.
Two things can be true at once: someone can be an elitist rich man and also do better for the environment than the snakes in Sac. could ever hope to be.
Which brings us to the real meat of the argument.
I’ve explained how the state government doesn’t want Hollister access for environmental reasons, they want it for equity. Equity is a false god. The Coastal Commission knows damn well that the Gaviota Land Conservancy has bought and opened to the public miles of coastline to the east of Hollister. All of it exists at near the same quality as the Ranch, but with the 101 running within a mile of most of the coast (a good thing for public access though!).
None of this land ever gets over-crowded. It’s not like we’re running out of beach umbrella space in the area. This leads to the next plausible reason for the CCC to get involved: surfers.
The only reason Hollister Ranch access is being brought to the fore is because the surf at Hollister is good.
So this leads to a rational understanding that the state government is now ostensibly pushing for coastal access for surfers.
Wait. When did a government body, especially a California one, ever advocate for surfers?
That never has happened.
Ulterior motives are the next reasonable assumption for the state’s interference in this matter. Very simply, the state of California would like nothing more than to have their greasy fingers meddling (oh, sorry, “managing”) in more private property. Two reasons for government meddling today tend to be a potential for increase in tax revenue, an example for them to peddle as evidence for support of the social cause du jour, or a combination of the two.
At this point, the government can ultimately do whatever it wants. But I would like to speak directly to California surfers. They are the only people with enough vested interest to make any change to the course the CCC is currently on.
The idea that one has a right to anyone else’s property isn’t just immoral, it’s downright evil. A quick note to the surfers who are clamoring to open the floodgates: if you’re too much of a pussy to boat or paddle in, walk to the “first spot past the gate” on a negative tide, or work your ass off and sacrifice to buy into a parcel then that ought to be your own problem.
I generally understand and like the “high tide” rule in California, but I don’t see how anyone can go from a reasonable rule like that to then say that you are entitled to pave over ranchers’ land and walk over it to get to a beach that is just as uncrowded and pristine and good as one just to the east (and a quick five-minute hike off the 101) that’s already open to the public.
What’s so funny is that this goes back to the original Eden dilemma our forefathers met in the fifties with the Hollister family. The Santa Barbara Surf and Sportsman’s Club was founded to prevent the cow-tipping, graffiti, and trash that “down-souther” surfers brought up with them when they surfed the Ranch.
The solution to keep the peace and whole soul of the place that makes the place attractive was to regulate the place. First, that took the form of the club. Now it takes the form of property ownership.
It’s a simple principle that people who own things take care of them. No one washes a car they rent. What is hilarious is that these administrators think that by opening up a sacred and pristine place to the general public that those people will have the same respect for the place as the people who had to work threejobs, live in a van, and be in debt for decades just to make having a stake in a parcel possible.
History repeats itself and I hope our governing bodies have the wisdom to learn from the history of this place to avoid losing the last remaining cradle of California’s soul and traditions.
Hollister Ranch is a place I aspire to.
It’s what I think of when I have to bite the bullet and pull an all-nighter for work or school in the pursuit of the income required to own a parcel. The fact that people want to just cheat through life and act entitled to the things other people worked for is a sign of the times.
My message to surfers is, if you want to surf there, have a backbone and put in the time to earn a place there.
You’re not entitled to easy access there and as anyone who has surfed the rest of the 805 before ought to know, you aren’t entitled to a spot in the lineup either.
But with both, if you put your head down and put in the work and respect with humility, there is plenty of room.
(Do you have a little extra cash? Buy, here, now!)